Meet Roger Walker, ESA's Project Manager for YES2.
What’s your role at ESA?
I’m the Project Manager for Educational satellite projects here at ESA. There are currently three running, one of which is YES2.
What’s your role in the YES2 Project?
I have overall responsibility for YES2 within ESA. Day to day I monitor work progress against the overall schedule, give tasks to my team, and take decisions based on written reports, or issues raised during project meetings. Above all, I need to ensure that the project is successfully executed to achieve its educational, scientific and technical objectives.
Do you need to communicate outside of ESA?
I also deal with people from other ESA Directorates such as HME (Human Spaceflight Microgravity and Exploration) who are managing the Foton-M3 mission, our prime contractor Delta-Utec who are responsible for delivering the YES2 flight hardware/software, and other space agencies. At the moment, I’m talking to people from ROSCOSMOS (Russian Space Agency) and TsSKB, who build the Foton Spacecraft, during meetings on the operations of YES2 during the Foton-M3 mission.
What are you working on at the moment on YES2?
I recently organised the FAR (Final Acceptance Review). This is where we decide if ESA should take ownership of the YES2 hardware from the contractor. We review the environmental test results to find out if it can do what it should do during launch and in the space environment. We also have to prove to our Russian colleagues that YES2 will fit on and communicate with the Foton-M3 spacecraft as one of the payloads! The students have been involved throughout the integration and testing process and were well guided by the great deal of expertise available from the ESA Directorate of Technical and Quality Management, as well as being able to use their testing facilities.
What’s the next major step?
Soon we’ll be going to Russia again where I’ll be organising and supervising the YES2 installation and interface testing on the Foton-M3 spacecraft, which is the last testing to be done before the launch. Installation requires that we correctly secure YES2 in its mounting on the Foton M3 battery pack. The interface testing is where we make sure that the telecommand/telemetry, electrical and mechanical systems on YES2 are compatible with the Foton. YES2 will be drawing power from Foton during the flight and data/instructions to and from YES2 have to go through Foton too.
What different specialities do you need in order to make a project like this work?
Building a craft like this requires a lot of different skill sets, but also provides the perfect opportunity to learn new ones. On the project we have an Integration Manager, Mission Analyst, Ground Support Equipment Operator, Re-entry Capsule Engineer, Senior System Engineer, Contractor Project Manager, Electronics Engineer, Software Engineer, and many other roles!